Young Leader Confidently Winning

Young Leader Confidently Winning

Born on Darug Land, Tiarna Furneyvall’s stand-out journey as a Young Leader School-Based Trainee at AFL NSW/ACT has earned her AFL SportsReady’s First Nations Trainee of the Year Award for NSW/ACT.
Supporting the Greater Sydney Indigenous Academies, Tiarna’s dedication and growth over the past two years have significantly impacted the program and her confidence.

Tiarna was known for being shy when she first joined the AFL NSW/ACT team. However, under the guidance of her supervisor, Matthew Keevil-Scott, and with the support of the AFL NSW/ACT community, Tiarna blossomed into a confident and capable leader.
Matthew Keevil-Scott, Tiarna’s manager, speaks highly of her :

Over the past two years, Tiarna has gained confidence, stepped out of her comfort zone,

and took control of several tasks independently. Tiarna was always on time, prepared, and completed tasks in a timely manner, including her modules.

Tiarna’s ability to set goals and manage her time effectively was evident early on. She balanced work tasks, modules, high school obligations and HSC commitments with maturity. Her determination to complete all her modules before her HSC exams allowed her to focus fully on her studies when it mattered most.

Throughout her traineeship, Tiarna’s responsibilities were diverse. She excelled in administration, organising camps, mentoring and delivering AFL programs.

Her tasks included
  • Data collection
  • Ordering catering
  • Emailing external stakeholders
  • Setting agendas
  • Managing budgets
  • Planning travel timetables.


Tiarna’s involvement in youth leadership camps and AFL Indigenous Academies sessions highlighted her natural mentoring abilities. She guided students and contributed to their development, embodying the spirit of leadership and community support.

One of Tiarna’s notable achievements was her role in the KickStart program, which operates at primary schools with high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student enrollments. She delivered Acknowledgements of Country and ran tailored AFL skill and drill sessions incorporating Traditional Indigenous Games.

This experience not only enriched the students’ lives but also helped Tiarna grow as a person and leader.

Matthew Keevil-Scott further elaborates on her impact:

Tiarna’s maturity was shown early when she set herself up for success by setting goals with timeframes that balanced work tasks, modules, high school obligations, and HSC commitments. Throughout the year, Tiarna’s tasks included administration, organising camps and outings, mentoring, and delivering AFL programs. Her dedication has been a major boost for our program and organisation.

Christine Clifford, AFL SportsReady’s field officer, also praises her dedication and growth:

Tiarna was really shy to begin with, but her confidence grew in the last half of her second year. She completed her traineeship and Business III Certificate while in grades 11 and 12 and worked extra days after school to help with after-school programs.
Tiarna became an important role model for Karmel Potts, another School-Based Trainee (The two of them pictured above).

Tiarna and Karmel Potts are the first Aboriginal School-Based Trainees in AFL NSW/ACT.

Tiarna’s success has paved the way for the continuation of the School-Based traineeship program for First Nations students. Her traineeship has set a precedent and allowed future Trainees to follow.

Now studying Occupational Therapy at the Australian Catholic University, Tiarna reflects on her traineeship experience:

This program has helped me grow as a person but also made me a better leader.

I was always a shy person, but with this program, it has built my confidence with working with kids and as a mentor.

Tiarna’s journey from a shy Trainee to a confident leader highlights her dedication and the supportive environment at AFL NSW/ACT. Her achievements set a positive example for future First Nations Trainees, showing the benefits of hard work and guidance.

Watch a video with both Tiarna  and Karmel talking about  School Based traineeships.

If you’ve recently completed your Traineeship, join our Alumni!

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